Double love. Bobby’s pool. It has been seen and felt. Much like the sun and heat it lays tranquilly beneath. The San Fernando Valley can be a scorcher. The trees try and shrug the heat off… Slumped. Summer sunshine. Pools are ubiquitous. Almost every street has a pool on it and in some cases, every home on every street. Like I said: everywhere. We prowl the narrow alleys and yawning neighborhoods. On a block wall, graffiti spells out something unintelligible regarding a late night debauchery. Broken beer bottles glitter in the sun. Tires and car parts lean against the mouth of the alley, waiting for a greasy trash truck that never seems to come. I spot hatred’s old tired face on a nearby wall. It’s message as weary and shallow as its always been. Racism. The maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason.
An old Mexican man pushed a small cart filled with cheap ice cream bars and Otter Pops. His face is a tangle of wrinkles and pain. Unfulfilled dreams. I watch him move past me and towards a school. We move down the street and pull up in front of a house I’ve been watching. The house looks rundown. Uninhabited? No mail is in the mailbox. The windows are dirty on the car in the driveway and the registration is expired. We pull down the alley looking at the right hand kidney that has been on our radar for months. I pull myself up over the edge of the wall and look. I was trained well when I served with the United States Marine Corps. Frosty. My eyes take in everything. Threats. Dogs. Problems. I ease over the wall and into the yard. I turn on a garden hose and check to see if the water is still on. It is. I plug a night light into an outside outlet. Power? Affirmative. Quickly I’m back in the truck. Intel. “There are wheel marks in it. There’s also dog feces on the deck by the shallow end. I didn’t see a dog but even if it is inside, someone has to be feeding it…” I made a mental checkmark. We’d keep an eye on it. I shrug and we head over to the Double Love. Tony Alva is meeting us there. He’s filming something for the Vans Propeller video with Greg Hunt.
We skate for an hour or two. I always consider it a privilege to skate a pool with Tony Alva. We’ve become good friends over the last twenty years. If he needs something from me, I drop what I’m doing and handle it. He asked me to set up Bobby’s for Vans and it all came together. We were sitting there on the shallow stairs talking and I was telling Ripperside Shawn and Tony about the day that Arto brought the Volcom team riders over here and what they’d put the poor pool through. Punishers.
Grant Taylor, CJ Collins, Rune Glifberg, Pedro Barros, Omar Hassan… they handled business. Pro skaters that skated like Pro skaters should be skating. There was none of the twenty-five tries, filmed from three angles, crap. Splice. Splice. This was one-hundred and ten percent pure animal savagery. On point. White knuckle barbarism… The pool had so much potential. For guys like me, it was grind over the loveseat and try and stay on the line. For guys like the Volcom crew, it was anything they wanted, whenever and wherever.
Ripperside Shawn, Tony and I took a few more runs and went to eat tacos down the street. The sun dropped behind the clouds. I thought again about the Double Love pool and the magic it brought to so many people. Sometimes, we find a pool and it becomes so much more than what it appears to be. For the homeowner, its a useless hole in the yard that collects water and mosquitoes. Its a constant reminder of better times, family cookouts and laughter. For us, it becomes creative expression itself. Thank you to Arto Saari for the images. Skate – Ozzie